The eventful and lopsided history of Patriots-Texans
The eventful and lopsided history of Patriots-Texans
The Patriots and Texans don’t have a "rivalry". One team was building a dynasty while the other was finding its way as an expansion team, and making the playoffs still hasn't made the Texans the Patriots' peers.
Yet the history between the two teams since the Texans came into the NFL in 2002 has been fairly eventful. The Pats are 7-1 in eight meetings, which have seen blowouts, brutally beaten quarterbacks, a season-crippling injury and ill-informed fashion choices.
Heading into Saturday’s divisional round playoff meeting between the two teams, Bill O’Brien and Brock Osweiler will try to beat what appear to be insurmountable odds and send the Texans to their first AFC championship. Let’s just hope that if they do, the cameras will capture it rather than being trained on J.J. Watt the whole time.
THE EARLY YEARS
The Patriots and Texans first met in the Texans’ second season in 2003, and the game couldn’t have been stranger. Tony Banks started in place of the injured David Carr at QB for Houston and the eventual Super Bowl champion Pats still needed a touchdown drive from Tom Brady in the final minute of regulation to force overtime. Adam Vinatieri, who had missed two kicks in regulation, kicked the game-winner in OT to give New England a 23-20 win.
It would be three seasons before the teams would meet again, but their 2006 meeting was all Patriots. The Pats picked Carr four times and New England ran away with a 40-7 victory.
The Patriots’ status as AFC East champs — but ones who wouldn’t have a first-round bye — was already cemented when they played the Texans in Week 17 of the 2009 season, and in the days prior to the game Bill Belichick, as seen in his A Football Life episode, privately pondered the wisdom of playing Wes Welker. In the end, he chose to have Welker suit up.
Welker tore his ACL, the Patriots lost 34-27, and were down one of their best players when they took an absolute pounding from the Ravens in the Wild Card round on the following weekend.
But for the Texans, it meant going 9-7 and having their first winning season in franchise history.This game remains Houston’s lone win against the Pats in the eight times the teams have faced one another.
THE HILARIOUS S**T
The Texans took little steps forwards and backwards for years. They got to 7-9 in 2004, then fell back to 2-14 the next year. Eventually they got to the point where they were generally 8-8 for a while. In 2011, they finally made the playoffs.
The 2012 season was a different story. The Texans were finally taken seriously, and they apparently had absolutely no idea what to do with that.
Sitting at 11-1 going into a Monday Night Football matchup with the Pats, the organization actually listened to defensive tackle Shaun Cody’s idea of going into Foxboro wearing letterman jackets. The ridiculous jackets were made up and the players were totally jazzed about them.
What was widely anticipated to be a very tough game for the Patriots ended up being the ass-kicking of the millennium. The Pats took a 21-0 lead into halftime and ran away with a 42-14 victory that saw Tom Brady throw four touchdowns.
That same season saw the only postseason meeting to date between the two teams, with the Texans saving face a little bit by not getting destroyed as badly as they had a month and two days earlier in Foxboro. Either way, the Pats took a 41-28 victory.
The game was close through the first half, but New England cruised to a 38-13 lead by the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. Tom Brady threw for 344 yards with three touchdowns and no picks, with Shane Vereen totaling three touchdowns (one rushing, two receiving).
The Texans had lost nine in a row heading into a Week 13 matchup against the Pats in 2013, but they somehow ended up giving them a game.
Ben Tate ran for three touchdowns, including two in the first half to give Houston a 17-7 lead at halftime. The teams went back and fourth over the course of the second half, and by the time the conversations about how the hell a Case Keenum-led offense was putting up 31 points on the Pats were done, New England had escaped with a 34-31 win.
THE HELLO BILL AND R.I.P. BRIAN HOYER
Bill O’Brien took over as Houston’s head coach in 2014, and the former New England offensive coordinator’s first meeting against his old team was not pretty.
Facing the Texans in Week 14 of the 2015 season, the Patriots were coming off back-to-back losses and wanted to hit someone. That someone ended up being former Pats backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, who was sacked five times, fumbled twice and left the game with a concussion in the fourth quarter. The Pats ran away with a 27-6 victory.
THE JACOBY BRISSETT HALL-OF-FAME GAME
The Raiders couldn’t beat the Texans with a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start. Jacoby Brissett laughs at the Raiders.
With Tom Brady suspended and Jimmy Garoppolo hurt, the Patriots seemed ripe for a loss against the 2-0 Texans. Instead, Brissett ran for a 27-yard touchdown in the first quarter while Brock Osweiler had his first of multiple “Wait; this guy might just actually suck” performances (196 passing yards, no touchdowns, one interception) of the season.
On Saturday, the benched-turned-starting-again Osweiler will get another crack at the Patriots. Unfortunately for him, No. 12 will be there.